THUNDER BAY - The province’s provincial prisons have reduced their inmate population by roughly 30 per cent in an effort to decrease the health risks associated with COVID-19 in jails across Ontario, according to the Ministry of the Solicitor General.
Since mid-March, the province has made operational changes at adult correctional facilities across Ontario in order to help curb the spread of COVID-19 in correctional institutions.
Locally, the Thunder Bay District Jail has also seen a decrease since March 16. The inmate population has reduced from 181 to 104, according to Kristy Denette, a spokesperson with the ministry.
Before safety and health measures were put in place, provincial prisons across Ontario held a total of 8,344 inmates on March 16.
As of April 17, the inmate population for all correctional institutions is at 5,769.
“The goal is to decrease the public health risk in our institutions by lowering the number of inmates in custody while preserving public safety,” Denette said in an emailed statement.
On March 20, the ministry announced they would be using longer-term temporary absences to allow the early release of inmates who are near their sentences.
“Twenty low-risk inmates close to the end of their sentences have been released early from institutions across the province,” she said, adding a centralized team continues to review cases.
Inmates who have been convicted of serious crimes such as violent crimes involving guns are not considered for early release, a previous statement from the ministry said.